Linda Silver Dranoff
Toronto family law lawyer, retired
Justice. This has been the thrust, the driving force of Toronto lawyer Linda Silver Dranoff. This is what has driven her to take cases to the highest levels of court, to lobby for changes in legislation, to set precedents…. to make laws more just and fair for the average person. She took cases to court only when a reasonable and fair settlement for her client could not be achieved through negotiation.
Most of the important changes to family law for which Linda fought, have become law. This makes it easier to achieve a fair settlement outside court. Linda is skilled at dispute-resolution, tailoring the process to the needs and personalities of the parties and lawyers involved, and has been successful in achieving a fair result for her clients. She is trained in Collaborative Family Law.
Education and Empowerment. Through the settlement process, she empowers her clients. Throughout her career, she has been active as a writer, speaker and media commentator who is able to explain in simple terms the laws that affect people, and empower the public. People learn their rights and get ideas for instructing their own lawyers by reading Linda Silver Dranoff's books on law. For 25 years, readers of Chatelaine magazine were kept up-to-date on legal issues through her Ask a Lawyer column.
Legal reformer. Linda has represented clients in precedent-setting cases, including the first Supreme Court of Canada case to give Ontario wives a share of family investments, and the first to expand spousal support rights to take account of benefits, bonuses and changes in the cost-of-living. She has appeared at every level of court, and spoken at many continuing education programs for lawyers. She spearheaded the lobbying drive in Ontario for equal sharing of family property for divorced and widowed spouses, resulting in the Family Law Act 1986.
Equality seeker. Linda has advanced the cause of equality for Canadian women, and contributed to the significant expansion of women’s rights in family law. As a member of the Ontario Council on the Status of Women, Linda Silver Dranoff contributed to briefs and lobbied for law reform with respect to family property, pay inequity, sexual harassment, disinherited spouses, child care, violence against women, constitutional issues, and the establishment of a Ministry Responsible for the Status of Women. She was Founding Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Feminist Legal Analysis Section.
Award-Winner. In 2006, Linda Silver Dranoff received the Law Society Medal, the highest honour bestowed by Ontario's legal profession for service "in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession." She was honoured with the Ontario Bar Association Distinguished Service Award (1993), the Toronto Y.W.C.A. Award as Woman of Distinction in the Professions (1995), the Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (2001), the President's Award of the Women's Law Association of Ontario (2002), the Family Law Award of Excellence of the Family Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association (2003), and the Award for Commitment to Equality presented by the Feminist Legal Analysis Section of the Ontario Bar Association (2005).